light, high-performance kayak?

I am a fairly strong intermediate paddler and am 60 years old. I currently paddle a lovely British boat - not well known - a Mega by Diamante. It’s probably 55 lbs - glass- and around 17 ft. I’ve paddled it in all kinds of conditions for around 7 years and, with advancing age, etc. I’m looking for a boat that has two features: First, I’d like a lighter boat so I can lug it and put it on the rack when I’m on my own. Second, I’d like a faster, tippier boat that will challenge and push me to continue improving my balance etc. I’ve asked an outfitter in whom I’ve got a lot of confidence, and he’s suggested two boats: 1) Impex Force Cat 3 or 4; and 4) low volume Nordkap - both with kevlar layup. I’m not sure if I’m willing to spend the $3k at least for this, so I’d like to know if anyone has any cheaper suggestions…or ways of getting a used Impex or low volume Nordkap. Thanks much…

My choice for lightweight
high performance boats. tideline, Epic (needs the rudder) surge from surge marine expensive but incredibly well made boats. How much do you weigh? You seem like you mmight be a sea kayaker.

I like impex boats a lot but getting one in a 40 pound lay up will be pricey as well.

You could build your own or find one for sale. The resale on wood boats is nowhere near their value, from what I have seen. Maybe an Outer Island or a Night Heron or Guillemont. Definitely a weight savings. The main problem with buying one would be having to explain that, no you didn’t build it.

Aside from that you could look at a thermoformed plastic boat but I don’t know of any really lively ones made that way.

Look at already built
wood boats…The OspreyHP or CLCs new sheerwater designs.

Many go for under 2k (some for well under)are less than 45lbs and, from the ones I’ve paddled against, are fast.

Hey Rick. I think you are a darn fast
paddler in what you have , but have you tried a QCC 700?There are at least a couple of p.netters in your area that have them.

Force 4
Hi Rick

Greetings from the Great North Woods, or at least from WFMC. I paddled a Force 4 when I was in Madison a few weeks ago- it’s a very nice boat, but by no means light. Kevlar might be a little better, but it’s still a very solid boat. I don’t think it would be all that different from your Mega, paddling-wise.

Since you will still have the Mega, maybe something different would be good. For more of a flatwater boat, you could get an exceptionally light boat by buying an entry level K1-type boat from Simon River or KayakPro. Both make exceptionally light boats that would be able to handle all but the choppiest days on Lanier. I haven’t paddled those boats in particular, but I have paddled a Plastex K1 trainer, and it really was pretty stable, I swear.

There’s also of course the ski option- I think a fiberglass Mako XT will run you about $1800.

Be well,


Buying used
Both of the boats you mention, the Impex Force boat(s) and the Nordkapp LV, are new boats this year so will be hard to find used. That said, you should call around to Valley and Impex dealers about getting their demo boats for these. Don’t know where you are, but the Kayak Center in Wickford had a demo of the Nordkapp LV in very nice condition - I tried it out in July. (Also had a nice Kevlar Rumour)

My only complaint about the Nordkapp is that it still carries a relatively high front deck. Granted I am still too small for it at 5’4" - it’d take some real padding to get it there - but I thought the front deck was high enough I’d find it annoying over time. Real nice boat though.

If you are small enough and want a boat that’ll be fast and challenge the heck out of you, the Rumour by CD may be a candidate. I loved this boat’s responsiveness. I just don’t think that I am enough of a paddler to handle this boat in conditions yet.

I would strongly suggest… Foster Silhouette made by Seaward is fast, fairly challenging and can be gotten used. People tend to get out of this boat because they find that it requires more attention than they want to give. And Seaward makes a great boat - you just can’t go wrong on their build, layup and outfitting. Any Seaward boat next to a Valley or NDK boat makes it look like a bunch of 12 year old kids on a science project built the Brit boat, especially arond the coaming.

performance kayak
Many, many thanks to all of you for such thoughtful advice. I’m going to follow up on the suggestions. Again, my thanks.

I’m in a similar situation
with age and wanting a light kayak. I have a Valley Pintail that I enjoy to paddle in rough conditions and when there is someone else available to help me load and unload the kayak. But for my regular day paddling I have a skin on frame kayak, 31 lbs. 17’6"x19" that I thoroughly enjoy the performance and the ease of paddling and loading on my vehicle. I liked it so much that I built a cedar strip replica of the SOF that weighs 32 lbs. Both kayaks were not that difficult to build with the help of the people on the Guillomet Kayak Building Bulletin Board and the book by Chris Cunningham on Building The Greenland Kayak. If you don’t have the desire to build a kayak maybe there is a kayak builder that could build you one for you. Like the others have said you can buy a wood kayak for pretty cheap if it’s what you want. I have found the SOF with a nylon covering to much more durable than I could have imagined. Anyway, just something to think about. Since I don’t do any expedition kayaking I have all my needs fullfilled with the cedar strip kayak and the Pintail.

QCC600X/700X 43-45 lbs with rudder

– Last Updated: Aug-12-06 12:09 PM EST –

in carbon/kevlar, can not beat them for the price and American engineering and craftmanship. All around performance kayaks that are great on rivers, surfing waves, and seakayaking loaded with gear! Remarkably durable too.

Was staying at a friends house on the river, pulled up to the dock, stood on the top step of the dock ladder (at water level) and lifted my 700X out of the water with one hand (no gear in it), not difficult at all. I pick it up and carry it around with one hand while resting it on my shoulder all the time (just tuck your elbow inside the cockpit for comfort when walking).


Consider an SOF!
I agree with Don. I just built an SOF…was an incredible experience. The frame alone weighed 27lbs…all complete it is about 35lbs at the most. I paddle an old Diamante as well (same as Susquehanna by Impex)…a great boat. I built Nick Schade’s 20" beam Night Heron…a wonderful boat…and fast. So, I would also encourage you to either think about building a boat if interested, or purchasing a fast sng, stripper,hybrid, or sof. BTW…a GREAT source for a SOF is Pete Strand in CT( ) or Bill Low’s Willow Kayaks on Cape Cod(cannot find the url?).

You might want to post on if you are interested in purchasing a fast/light boat. Some of the faster narrower beam fiberglass with wood core boats might include: Outer Island (Jay Babina) , Night Heron (Nick Schade), Merganser (Eric Schade or CLC called the Shearwater), The Return (Joe Greenley), and many others as well. There are many wooden core fiberglass boats for sale on The only issue to be concerned about is the quality of the build. I also know of someone who builds low volume sng boats in CT. Let me know if you want a contact.

Enjoy the search. Isn’t half of the fun demoing all of these boats?


Light Enough?
Ultra-Light Carbon, Kevlar and Fiberglass Kayak $850.00

Its time we let go of the Red Kayak. This is a one-of-a kind boat weighing about 35 lbs, with a length of approximately 16’8”, width about 22.5” and a depth of 12” in front of the cockpit. Best suited for someone under 5’10.

It has no rudder or skeg, and doesn’t need one. It doesn’t weather cock either. It can hold enough for a trip to Seymour Canal and up the Glass Peninsula, (that’s 7 days and 160 nm for those not from Southeast Alaska) though it will not carry a bear can in front of the pegs – which is why I bought my first Ursack.

She is very playful, but with good initial stability. I used to take it out in storms to play in the waves, but my insurance company (Eve, inc.) won’t let me do that anymore. We have more than enough kayaks now, and would like to have a little more room in the garage. The boat has never been stored outside.

Comes with a cockpit cover and your choice of an Aquabound or Cadence paddle – spare quality. It has a standard sized cockpit, so use your own spray skirt for a good fit.

You pay the freight and its yours. I just decided to sell this afternoon.

And, if this is against the message board code, I do appologize, let me know and I will delete.